When former Jarvis finance director John O’Kane left the rail specialist last month to join engineering service firm Redhall, it reunited him with the firm’s chairman David Jackson. They had both previously worked together at rail engineer Peterhouse in the same roles.

Back in the summer of 2004 Peterhouse received a £95m takeover bid from Babcock which divided the board. Jackson was on one side opposing the deal and pretty much all the rest were in the camp that wanted to accept the offer, including O’Kane, current VolkerWessels UK boss Alan Robertson and Janette Anderson, who later joined, er, Babcock.

It apparently all got quite nasty and personal relationships were damaged.

So have O’Kane and Jackson kissed and made up?

Or, more tellingly, are things so bleak at Jarvis that a reunion with a former boardroom foe was a more attractive proposition than staying?

Or did they ever truly fall out?

Some are now saying O’Kane was actually more on the fence than firmly in the Robertson/Anderson camp. Or perhaps that’s just the warm glow of hindsight?

Either way it was a strange time for O’Kane to leave; Jarvis is dealing with a takeover bid from a mystery suitor.

Names being bandied around include… wait for it… Babcock and VolkerWessels.